Topic: Employment

Warehouse Rotorua workers protest over wage dispute

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

A group protested at The Warehouse Rotorua and are the latest of the retail chain to walk off the job.  Staff took strike action today over what they call a small pay rise.

Warehouse workers in Rotorua want a fair go and a fair wage.   

Albert Williams says, “The company has come back with an offer of 30 cents, which falls far shorter than the minimum standards of both the union and our members who have come to us and have mandated for us to bargain for.”

The workers are represented by FIRST Union who are negotiating with The Warehouse management on a fairer wage increase. 

If the workers accept the offer of a 30 cent increase, that would only lift the lowest pay rate to $15.32.  FIRST union president Syd Keepa says that the workers should come first. 

Keepa says, “You get more productivity, you get a happier work force, the economic activity with-in the community will raise, which will probably mean our mokopuna and tamariki having kai on the table.”

The Warehouse were not willing to make comment on camera.  But, Spokeperson for The Warehouse, Julia Morton did say only one staff member was actually on strike today and the rest where brought in by FIRST union.  The 30 cents increase on payment only affects 13 team members out of 8,500 workers under The Warehouse. 

Albert Williams says, “It's not a disease that is just happening in the red shed, in the Warehouse.  It's making its way into all industries.  So if we make a stand today, this is where we draw a line in the stand.”

FIRST Union says that more of these protests are likely to continue should negotiation fall short of the target wage.